A mixture of bitumen, sand and water spilled into muskeg near Nexen ULC's Long Lake oilsands project. (Photo: CP)However, the documents noted that any legal or enforcement action triggered by the investigation would likely extend the deadline.
In August, the AER ordered Nexen to shut 95 pipelines in Alberta because it was non-compliant on matters related to pipeline maintenance and monitoring. (Photo: CP)Nexen, a wholly subsidiary of Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC Ltd., has said the pipeline could have been leaking for up to two weeks before it was discovered by a contractor on July 15. The double-walled pipeline — designed to carry raw bitumen from the ground to the processing plant —had been installed a year earlier and a warning system didn't detect the leak. The pipeline, which used a relatively new technology, operated at 100 degrees Celsius in order for the thick bitumen to flow. The AER updates said the mixture that spilled was one third bitumen, with the rest sand and water. In August, the AER ordered Nexen to shut 95 pipelines in Alberta because it was non-compliant on matters related to pipeline maintenance and monitoring. Twenty-one of those remain suspended, but Nexen says they're not required for operations.
An unrelated explosion in Long Lake killed one worker and critically injured another. (Photo: CP)Long Lake was able to restart fully in September. Four months later — in a part of Long Lake unrelated to the pipeline spill — an explosion killed one worker and critically injured another. The blast took place in a part of Long Lake's upgrader, which converts tarry oilsands crude into easier-to-refine light oil. The facility remains shut and the explosion remains under investigation. Follow @LaurenKrugel on Twitter.
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